Chapter 6 – Dealing with the Media
1. Responsibilities – With the advent of the media deputy in the SCA, the Chatelaine’s office is no longer the automatic media representative for the SCA. If your Seneschal chooses to handle these obligations him / herself, or designate a deputy specifically for this task, that’s fine. No matter what your Seneschal decides, do not assume that you are automatically the media liaison for your group. This section is intended to prepare you for that task, should it arise, not assign it to you. No matter who is chosen to deal with this task, be prepared to help them with handouts, ideas and suggestions.
The responsibilities of the Lochac Media Office is being handled by the Lochac Seneschal and all queries should be directed to the Office at firstname.lastname@example.org subject line to read: media queries
2. Some ideas as to what you could put on your group’s website as a means of helping with media enquiries. Have a Media link in your main navigation, and a page that has:
a) A media briefing document to acquaint media with requirements and recommendations (see below)
b) The Tips sheet for groups in dealing with the media (see below)
c) Contact emails and / or names / phone numbers for group Chatelaines, Baronages, Seneschals or designated media contact people (ideally with a generic email format, rather than linked to personal email addresses)
d) Direct links to local group Websites.
e) A representative sample (i.e. 3-6) of print-quality copyright-cleared photos.
f) The SCA introductory flyer (pdf), posters or other general newcomer-oriented info.
3. Tips for SCA people dealing with the Media
When contacted by a media representative, be aware that how you communicate with them will dictate how the SCA in general – and your part of it in particular – is perceived by them and eventually, the broader public.
Your general attitude should be positive and helpful. Refer them on to the Chatelaine or, if your group has hone, your media spokesperson; let the SCA folk know that a media contact is likely to attend, and pass on any information you might have.
a) Ensure that you note the name of the reporter, who they are working for, their phone / mobile number and / or email, and any deadline information
b) Follow up any contacts promptly, return calls / emails as soon as possible.
c) Work with the Seneschal and Event Steward, as appropriate, to identify a suitable time and / or location for interviews and recording / filming
d) Send the reporter an SCA media briefing sheet beforehand and familiarise yourself with its information and requirements so you are ready to help.
e) Try to arrange a suitable interview area (e.g. have a banner or period pavillion as a backdrop for filming; allow radio people to record some typical SCA soundscapes, such as combat.
4. Please don’t
a) Please don’t expect that the story will automatically run. If it does get spiked, it will help if the reporter comes away with a positive impression as they may pick up the story some other time.
b) Please don’t expect to be able to check what’s been written before it is published. You can try offering to run an eye over an item to check facts, but don’t ever try to rewrite a story draft.
c) Please don’t complain over minor inaccuracies. You can ask for a correction or write a letter to the editor if there is an important major one (such as an incorrect URL citation)
d) Please don’t expect to be able to pre-approve the use of photographs. Ensure that people know that media photography or filming is going on; if they remain, consent for release will be assumed.
e) Please don’t charge Media for an event. You could try asking for a donation if they are actually eating at a feast (stress the non-profit nature of the society), but treat them as complimentary guests if at all possible.
f) Please don’t be afraid to say no. While positive media coverage can be useful, if it doesn’t suit the time or place, by all means decline. You can always save the reporter’s contact information so you can proactively contact them should a later more suitable opportunity arise. (Also, if the media does an advance piece, do no be afraid to mention that the event is not a public performance or is not open to the public.)